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Posts Tagged ‘authoritative citizen data’

2012 Predictions: Esri on Social Media, Business Intelligence and Analytics, the Cloud and more

Friday, February 3rd, 2012

Social Media and Authoritative Citizen Data
Crowdsourced data, initially met with skepticism and concern by the geospatial community, is now going mainstream. GIS practitioners have long been the keepers of “authoritative” data, and are now beginning to take crowdsourced data very seriously.  This is in large part due to the tremendous utility of crowdsourced data we’ve seen during responses to recent disasters. Crowdsourced data enriches GIS, and Esri is constantly looking at how our users can use, manage, interpret, and incorporate it into their work.

The Cloud
With the advent of cloud computing as a new platform, geospatial applications in the cloud are driving a powerful new modality for GIS.  With it, there is an opportunity to reinvent the way the GIS application is built and consumed, as well as influence the discovery and availability of spatial data and geospatial analyses.

Cloud computing provides the potential for access to and publication of dynamic data.  This includes the consumption of real-time information for analyses and modeling, which can then be leveraged in applications that serve multiple purposes and audiences.  Esri is seeing this more with disaster response operations that are standing up mission-critical geospatial applications hosted in the cloud.  With access to seemingly unlimited compute capacity using cloud infrastructures, analytical calculations can be performed in a fraction of the time as traditional processes, which may potentially offer more economic viability as a result of the economies of scale that the cloud affords.
This may seem only attractive to small- to medium-sized businesses, educational institutions, non-profits, and startups.  But as cloud computing moves increasingly into mainstream operations for business, the potential for cloud-hosted content and cloud-delivered content is becoming a significant reality for organizations, regardless of size. For a geospatial technologist, cloud GIS can ideally mean that data is always available, always accessible. For the mobile worker, the cloud offers an expansive field to speed workflow productivity and collaboration. Shared data and applications in the cloud can be immediately accessed to discover, view, edit, save changes and invoke geoprocessing functions for on-demand results.

Esri recognizes the opportunities that cloud computing can afford the geospatial professional and technologist.  As such, we intend to continue to invest significantly in research and development of cloud-based solutions and services across multiple vendors to satisfy the requests by the geospatial community, and to foster growth of GIS into industries and within communities that may have not been cultivated as yet.

It is important to underscore that our current attention to the cloud does not forego interest and investment in on-premises desktops, servers and mobile applications.  Rather, the cloud is another enabling platform to help complement and augment an organization’s sales, marketing, and technology portfolio capabilities.

Business Intelligence and Analytics
Commercial/business applications of GIS have long lagged behind more traditional GIS applications such as planning, government, and environment.  But we are starting to see GIS reach much deeper into the business arena due to the focus on integration of GIS with enterprise resource planning (ERP), business intelligence (BI), data warehousing, and enterprise content management (ECM) applications. The majority of these integrated applications let end users work either in their business application environment or the GIS environment, so they are not disruptive to existing enterprise workflows.

Esri’s approach in this arena has been to partner with companies who have deep expertise in their respective BI, ERP, and ECM environments. We also recently acquired SpotOn Systems, a company that brings interactive mapping to IBM Cognos business intelligence applications. By making it easier to unite Esri’s spatial analytics, data, and maps with IBM Cognos BI, we think that this acquisition provides business users of GIS with the analytic element that has long been missing.

2012 Predictions: Safe Software on remote sensing, 3D GIS and more

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012


Remote Sensing

The amount of data that is being collected by sensors (remote sensors), terrestrial sensors, and personal sensors is going to explode.   Today, everyone with a smartphone is carrying around a very sophisticated sensor.   We are going to see the data from these sensors being used more and more. With all the sensors that are coming on line, we are quickly approaching the point where we can see what is happening anywhere at anytime.


The level of interest in 3D GIS is definitely on the upswing.   With new data sources like LiDAR and the ability of tools to combine these different sources to make immersive environments – it’s going to take a big leap forward.    Augmented Reality is just one technology that is on the cusp of breaking out.   2012 could be the year when it moves from a curiosity to a real must-have application. 2012 could also see a large adoption of 3D GIS technologies, as Autodesk continues work with its Infrastructure Modeler and Esri rolls out the fruit from its acquisition of Procedural and its CityEngine technology.

Web Mapping

We are really seeing a lot of excitement on the mobile platform.   In today’s world, a mobile workforce is still a connected workforce.  No longer is it the case that field workers are disconnected from their office systems.  As a result we are increasingly seeing the need for real-time data movement.  With workers always being connected, the line will continue to blur between the office, the field, and the home.  Smartphones are really “pocket” computers with more processing power than that of desktops only a few years ago.    The challenge now is more about bandwidth than anything else, and this is only going to get better and cheaper in 2012.  In 2012 more people are going to run “mobile” web apps from their smartphones/iPods/iPads than from their computers on the desktop.

Social Media and Authoritative Citizen Data

The importance of social media to business is only increasing.   Now people use social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook to follow topics and keep in touch with their customers and industry trends.   Social media has really changed the way that organizations get the word out.  At Safe now we see ourselves spending more and more time on “content” marketing so that we have the content that users need.   Through social media we are also in constant communication with more of our users than ever before.

On the topic of authoritative citizen data we are going to see more applications where citizens can help their cities and countries run better.  Whether it is helping cities identify potholes, or graffiti locations by simply sending in geo-tagged photos, or helping authorities prosecute “rioters” by taking video and pictures with their phones – the trend is clear.  Citizens are going to be more engaged than ever before.


The cloud is everywhere in 2012. At Safe for example, we do almost everything in the cloud.  We run our demo machines in the cloud. We train in the cloud. Our website is in the cloud. Our customers can evaluate using the cloud.  From a technology perspective cloud technology is ready to host everything.


We are also going to continue to see more and increasingly powerful cloud-based systems out there.  Take Google Fusion Tables for example.   This technology makes it trivial for anyone to publish and share any kind of data, including spatial data, and share it with the world instantly!   It’s amazing, and the cloud makes it possible.

The cloud is also a great equalizer.  It used to be that organizations that wanted to create world class web-based solutions had to spend huge amounts of capital to purchase their own server farms to host these applications.  With cloud services now, such as Amazon’s AWS, anyone can now create web-based solutions and simply leverage the scalability it inherently provides and only pay for what they use when they use it.    This moves CPU usage for these organizations from the “highway” model; (build and pay for infrastructure to handle peak loads), to the electricity model in which you only pay for what you use.  The cloud and its impact are still in early days.


The integration challenge is bigger than ever.  For us at Safe we are seeing demands for data to be moved between more different kinds of systems than ever before.  For the first decade of Safe it was all about CAD<->GIS.  Now we have Raster, LiDAR, XML, Big Data, and Web-based data sources such as Google Fusion Tables.   Users don’t want to just move it either way; they want to combine it and then send it to new applications.   Over this period the “data freshness” dates are getting shorter and shorter.   In 2012 we believe we are going to see organizations want to leverage “real-time” data.  We also are seeing an explosion of sensors and expect organizations to need to integrate this entirely new type of data into their workflows so that they can react quicker and more effectively to events.    This belief was a driving force behind the “Event Driven” architecture which we have added to FME Server.  With this we are ready to handle a whole new class of data integration challenge.

Safe Software responses by:

Don Murray,

President and Co-founder of Safe Software

Teledyne Optech
University of Denver GIS Masters Degree Online
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